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Cox v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Beaufort Division

March 31, 2015

Dennis Earl Cox, Plaintiff,
v.
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, [1] Defendant.

ORDER

R. BRYAN HARWELL, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court after the issuance of the Report and Recommendation ("R & R") of United States Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant.[2] Plaintiff Dennis Earl Cox ("Plaintiff" or "Cox") brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), to obtain judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying his claim for disability insurance benefits ("DIB"). In his R & R, the Magistrate Judge recommends affirming the decision of the Commissioner.

FACTUAL FINDINGS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff filed an application for DIB on March 17, 2010, alleging a disability onset date of January 15, 2009 due to a back injury, blood clots in his lungs, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. (R. pp. 12, 173, 178.) After his application was denied initially and on reconsideration, he requested a hearing before an administrative law judge ("ALJ"). The hearing before the ALJ was held on June 5, 2012. (R. pp. 30-48.) The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on June 14, 2012. (R. pp. 9-24.) The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision, thereby making the ALJ decision the Commissioner's "final decision" for purposes of judicial review. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); 20 C.F.R. § 404.981 (2003). The ALJ's overall findings were as follows:

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on March 31, 2011.
2. The claimant did not engaged in substantial gainful activity during the period from his alleged onset date of January 15, 2009 through his date last insured of March 31, 2011 (20 C.F.R. 404.1571 et seq. ).
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the following severe impairments: lumbar degenerative disc disease, right shoulder arthrosis status-post rotator cuff repair, and bilateral sensorineural hearing loss with tinnitus (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(c)).
...
4. Through the date last insured, claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(d), 404.1525, and 404.1526).
...
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) with some additional limitations. Specifically, claimant was able to lift and carry up to 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. He was able to stand, walk, and sit for 6 hours in an 8hour day. Claimant, however, was restricted from climbing ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. He could climb ramps and stairs, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl only occasionally. He was able to reach overhead with his right dominant extremity only occasionally. Claimant was required to avoid concentrated exposure to temperature extremes, humidity, background noises, and hazards.
...
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to perform any past relevant work (20 C.F.R. 404.1565).
...
7. The claimant was born on January 5, 1957 and was 54 years old, which is defined as an individual closely approaching advanced age, on the date last insured (20 C.F.R. 404.1563).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 C.F.R. 404.1564).
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is "not disabled, " whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
10. Through the date last insured, considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there were jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy that claimant ...

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